More Than Finances

Get your finances in order!

By

7 Ways to Save for a New Home While Renting

Many people dream of owning their own home. It is a mark of success in life. More importantly it provides security and can help you to budget for retirement.

Unfortunately, the days of 100% or even 105% loans are now gone. The best you can hope for now is a low deposit loan. This is likely to be for 95% of your loan amount.

The average house price in Australia now ranges from $345,000 to in excess of $800,000; depending on where you live.  Even at the bottom end of this scale you’re going to need a deposit of at least $20,000.

Your best bet is to see a finance broker as early as possible to discover what loans you should qualify for. You will then know how much you need to save.

Here are some ideas on how to save even when renting:

  • Rent Your Spare Room

An excellent way of increasing your income is to rent a spare room; assuming you have one. The additional funds can be placed in a special account for your mortgage down payment.

Even at just $50 a week you can save $2600 a year! Just be sure to allow for any increase in cost of utilities when calculating the rent amount.

  • Downsize

Another option is to downsize your apartment. If you have a spare room but don’t use it then you could go to a smaller apartment and save a substantial amount in rent.

Of course, you’ll need to save the money you save not just spend more.

  • Create A Budget

A budget is essential to ensure you know how much you can spend on everything each month without damaging your savings efforts.

It’s important to be realistic when creating your budget. There is no point allowing $20 per week for groceries when you know you’ll never be able to stick to it. You need to enjoy life now as well!

  • Cash Only

In a digital world it can seem bizarre to move back to cash. However, if you withdraw your allowance every week in cash you will always know what you have available to spend.

There is no chance of damaging your saving efforts this way!

  • Second Job

If you have the tie then you can get a second job. The funds from this will need to be saved to ensure you are justifying working harder.

This can also be a great way to make new friends and build contacts.

  • Set Up A Savings Account

It doesn’t matter how hard you try to save your deposit. You’ll find it much harder if you don’t set up a savings account.

Doing this allows you to put the funds somewhere; you won’t be able to easily touch them but as they grow you’ll be inspired to add more.

  • Revaluate Your Commute

Finally, it is important to look at your daily commute. You might be able to downsize and walk instead of driving to work.

Alternatively you might be able to walk from your current home. Whatever you save on transport must be saved.

The key to obtaining your deposit is not in implementing these changes; it is in ensuring that the additional funds are saved. This will give you the deposit you need much faster than you realize.

 

By

Feel Like You’re Drowning in Debt? 3 Things to Do About It

If keeping up with your many debts and loans is becoming a problem, it’s time to finally do something about it. There are several ways you can relieve the pressure associated with multiple debts. In fact, being proactive about paying off those debts is a smart financial decision that’s good for your future. Use these tips to make sure you keep your head above water rather than drowning in debt.

Get Credit Card Debt Under Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via Flickr by Informedmag

If you’re behind on payments or overspending month after month, it’s time to get those credit cards out of your wallet and stashed away where you won’t be tempted to use them. Start using cash or debit cards instead to make sure you’re staying within your budget and not spending beyond your means.

Next, tackle your credit card debt by paying it off with a line of credit with a low interest rate or transferring the debt to a card with an interest-free introductory period. You must be diligent about making payments each month to make this work, but if you quit pushing the balance back up by not using credit for purchases, you’ll see your hard work start to pay off quickly.

Refinance Your Student Loans

Many people graduate with multiple student loans. Keeping up with all those individual payments can be tricky, so consider refinancing your student loans with a private lender. In addition to consolidating your loans to deal with just one monthly payment, this option may also allow you to lock in a lower interest rate. That means you’ll pay less over the course of repayment than if you had not refinanced.

Even if the interest rate is not significantly lower, you may be able to secure a lower monthly payment when you refinance your student loans. That can be a lifesaver for someone who is struggling to make their monthly payments and keeps getting hit with late fees.

Find a Few Ways to Cut Back

You don’t necessarily need to cut back dramatically to make a dent in your debt. Consider what “extras” in your current budget could be cut out. Do you really need three different video streaming services, or could you cut back to one? Could you make your own coffee at home rather than buying one at the coffee shop every morning? Perhaps you could bike, walk, or take public transportation to save on gas costs or learn to cut your own hair instead of going to the salon.

The next time you are tempted to order takeout, go shopping for new clothes, or head to the movie theater, think about putting the money toward your debt repayment instead. Little sacrifices here and there can add up a lot faster than you might imagine.

If you’re ready to put your debt in the past, commit to pay it down quickly and effectively by using these tips. Making changes now can help you avoid paying even more money in late fees on interest costs down the line.

 

 

By

Money Management Tools To Keep You On Budget

Good money management, unfortunately, isn’t a skill that we all possess. While budgeting comes naturally to some people, to others the word alone can send them pale with fear. However, we are living in a digital age, and with that comes the introduction of countless online and mobile-based tools that can help you make, track and keep to your budget. While you can opt for instant payday loans in the case of a financial emergency, keeping to a budget can ensure that you have money for what you need, when you need it. Without further ado, here are the best money management tools to keep you on budget.

Envelopes

The ‘envelope’ style of budgeting has always been one of the most popular, and rightly so. In this method, you essentially put your budget for the money in separate envelopes, and label them with what is going where – once the money from one envelope is gone, it’s gone and you can’t borrow from other envelopes.

A reinvention of the envelope budgeting process is offered by some companies at a price. Some options are available to use online and there a number of different packages which can unlock numerous different features, depending on your requirements, including a learning centre, mobile app and the option of a finance trainer depending on the company and package chosen.

Budgeting Apps

Mint is a budgeting app which is free for users, although this does result in a number of push notifications and ads. Nevertheless, the free app still allows users to track their spending habits in a simple manner via a smartphone. Users will have the opportunity to connect their bank and lenders, get alerts for any bills, and check their credit score from one application.

Another example of a budgeting app is You Need A Budget which offers information on money management and allows users to create budget plans in-app. For novice budgeters or those in a bit of a tight spot, this can provide help with the intricacies of money management. This particular example primarily runs on the desktop, but there are apps available for iPhone and Android to keep track of what’s being spent and where.

On this app, users can also share budgets with multiple individuals, which may be beneficial for families or couples. However, this app does cost $6.99 a month. Users can also enjoy a 34-day trial too to determine whether the user wants to commit the monthly payment or not.

Keeping on top of your budget doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as you might expect. There are plenty of tools available online and on mobile to help you keep track of what you’re spending, what you can afford to continue spending, and most will even give you tips when things get touch. Hopefully one of these apps will help you with your budget in the future.

 

By

The Ins and Outs of Debt Management

Debt is an integral part of most Americans’ lives. In fact, studies suggest a majority of Americans will die with debt to their name. Even having a tiny bit of debt requires vigilance to keep it from growing into something larger and more sinister – and with interest rates for credit cards commonly reaching over 20%, you better believe this can happen.

Having a large amount of debt requires foresight into the future of your finances, and in turn additional planning. Juggling a job, monthly debt payments, and the rest of your life can be tricky, but with a few tips, you can make it as painless as possible.

Know How Much You Owe and Who Is Getting It

You should lay out all the information pertaining to your debts in front of you. This will give you an idea of the exact nature of your debts and impending payments. Once you create this layout, refer to it every now and then to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and are staying on track. It can be easy to forget about payments, especially if you have more than one creditor. As your amounts decrease, update the figures. Using a simple and free tool like Google Calendar can be of great use to you.

Student Loans

The money you borrow for school can mean a bright and secure future with little to worry about in the way of money. But for many, coming up with the funds to pay off student loans can seem like a dreadful Sisyphean task. The data on average costs of tuition don’t exactly bring peace of mind, either. Information collected by Collegeboard shows rates increasing seemingly without boundary.

Don’t assume that the first option you find is the best one in regard to student loans. Instead, take the time to compare student loan refinancing to see what payment method you can manage the best. You also don’t have to worry about your credit score being affected for comparing prices.

Decide Who To Pay Off First

Have a payment strategy to determine which debts to pay off first. Usually paying off credit cards first makes the most sense because they often slam you hard with a big interest rate if you fail to do so. Suddenly, instead of owing $1,000, you owe the company $1,200. This can make a bad situation dramatically worse.

A different strategy might involve paying off the debts with the lowest balances first. This way, you can trim the number of lenders in your life down to the minimum, and keep track of everything more easily.

Debt Consolidation

If you have several debts that are manageable but you would like to simplify further, consolidating them might be a good idea. This involves taking out a loan to pay off several debts, combining them all into one large debt. This strategy often comes with a lower interest or monthly rate.

While this certainly doesn’t ameliorate debts, it can make it far simpler to manage and lighten the financial strain in the interim. This is recommended for people with outstanding debts with multiple creditors that amount to $10,000 or greater. There’s also a chance that it could confer tax benefits for eligible situations.

Create An Emergency Fund

Always have an amount set aside that you only dip into in the case of an absolute emergency. You will thank yourself in the event that you get into an accident or another time-sensitive cash bind. Start with a small and manageable goal, like $1,000 for example. Over time, you can double it and so on. In the end, you want to have approximately half a year’s worth of living expenses set aside for an emergency.

Having this fun will prevent you from needing to take on an additional debt if you find yourself in a crunch in the precarious time that you are paying off other debts. The last thing you want is an expensive medical bill while in the midst of paying off college tuition.

Create A Monthly Budget

At the beginning of the month, create a budget for all your expenses and pending payments. You should plan far enough ahead so you can take corrective action in case things are not lining up the way they should.

This will likely require a period of fine-tuning your expenses, especially if this is not something you have done before. This is a good thing because it will help calibrate your income and living expenses. You might realize that the grocery store you go to is a little more expensive than a different one down the street, or that your habit of going to happy hour every Wednesday is running you into trouble. It’s better to confront these problems head-on than deluding yourself into thinking they don’t exist.

Explore Different Sources of Income

One obvious but perhaps overlooked method of alleviating financial stress is bringing in more money. Unless you are working every waking hour of the week, there are likely some opportunities to put some more cash in your pocket that you never even thought about.

The power of smartphones grants the ability to make money to nearly anyone with a car through Lyft and Uber. Apps open up the possibility for all kinds of different revenue sources, and best of all, allow you to create your own hours.

 

By

Saving Money Online – Easier Than You Think

There are many ways in which a person can save themselves money in their daily lives – we even have some helpful guidelines of our own which you can follow. When it comes to the internet, however, these rules can be difficult to apply, given how fundamentally different and technological the internet is. In this article we’ll go over some helpful tips for spending money on the internet, to help you save in the short and long-term, and better prepare you for the future.

Online Shopping with Touchscreen Ultrabo” (CC BY 2.0) by IntelFreePress

Shop Around

One of the biggest advantages to shopping online is that it can be a great deal cheaper than shopping in physical stores. While appealing, this does sometimes create the side effect of people settling when they see a deal which seems too good to be true. Just as with physical stores, there can be huge variances in prices between the same products, and it’s best to check around first.

Fortunately for us, much of this can be performed automatically. Almost any product or service which you wish to purchase or use will have some variation of free online comparison tool available to use. This can be as wide as with something like general shopping prices with PriceGrabber, as targeted as video games prices with IsThereAnyDeal, or as specific as comparing gambling services and their free bet offers with sites like Oddschecker. A Google search for online website comparisons can be all that it takes and can net you significant savings. Just be sure to factor in shipping costs.

Mall” (CC BY 2.0) by ReneS 

Software and Freeware

Unlike traditional goods and services, software can often be offered for free, and without the drawbacks which this would imply for physical goods. This is especially important because software for our computers or mobile devices can be far more expensive than we anticipate, and can even incur monthly or annual fees with some services. Thankfully, much of the software available today has entirely free or adware supported versions available which operate just as well as many full-priced products.

While this is not feasible in some areas – computing operating systems for the average user, for example – there are places where the difference in cost is in no way indicative of a difference in quality. We commonly see this when it comes to mobile apps which are supported by in-app advertisements. Many of these are just as good, with the only downside being the occasional and easily ignored popup. Even video games have adopted this model, with free to play games like League of Legends and Fortnite now seen as some of the biggest and most influential in the business.

The same can even be said for budgeting software. While this can be purchased, there are some pieces of software like Buddi which are available for free and offer a lot of versatility. It makes sense to save on software – doubly so on software which helps you deal with money – so this is a major plus.

iPhone screenshot” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by JForth

Patience and Timing

As with anything in life, patience is often a huge contributor to success. By keeping in mind what we have written here, and applying it over long periods, you open yourself to gradual but enormous gains. Waiting a week and then catching a sale a state over which saves you 40 percent on something is an amazing feeling and one which will have your wallet thanking you. Be careful, be patient, and happy shopping.